Feeds

Computer glitch nixes death row appeal in Texas

Judge holds firm on deadlines

Boost IT visibility and business value

A Texas inmate was sent to his death after a computer glitch held up his appeal filing, and a presiding judge refused to extend the deadline.

Earlier that day the US Supreme Court said it would consider a case from Kentucky, in which lawyers were arguing that the lethal injection is unconstitutional.

The Houston Chronicle reports that judges were expecting to receive an appeal, triggered by the Supreme Court's ruling. Judge Cathy Cochran told the paper that several of her colleagues were prepared to stay in their offices waiting for Michael Richard's lawyers to file his paperwork.

"A number of judges stayed very late that evening, waiting for a filing from the defence attorney," she said.

Judge Paul Womack was one of those who stayed in the office, waiting for the appeal. "All I can tell you is that night I stayed at the court until seven o'clock in case some late filing came in," he said. "I was under the impression we might get something... It was reasonable to expect an effort would be made with some haste in light of the Supreme Court [action]."

But Presiding Judge Sharon Keller refused to allow the appeal to be filed after 5pm, and did not consult with her colleagues on her decision. She said: "I think the question ought to be why didn't they file something on time? They had all day." The court does not accept emailed appeals.

Lawyers for 49-year-old Richards said a computer problem meant they couldn't print their filing in time to get it to the court by 5pm. They added that if the court would have accepted their submission by email, they still would have made the deadline, and that they only needed an extra 20 minutes.

Richards was executed later that day for the murder in 1986 of Marguerite Lucille Dixon, a 53-year-old nurse and mother of seven.

Civil rights campaigners said they were considering filing an official complaint about the debacle. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Adam Afriyie MP: Smart meters are NOT so smart
Mega-costly gas 'n' 'leccy totting-up tech not worth it - Tory MP
'Blow it up': Plods pop round for chat with Commonwealth Games tweeter
You'd better not be talking about the council's housing plans
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.